Monthly Archives: November 2011

To sell or not to sell.

I’m basically a self-taught artist.  Granted, in architecture school I did learn to draw, but not formally as part of a class.  I have learned from watching others, reading books and lately through the internet.  Until now, I hadn’t ever considered myself an artist.  Because I like to draw/paint/sketch what I see and not something from the imagination I had thought what I did wasn’t art.  A few weeks ago a youngster with a formal art degree convinced me that what I do is exactly art; I paint my interpretation of what I see… how I see my surroundings.  So yes, I’m calling myself now an artist.  I’ve accepted it.  And now what?

I have always done this just for fun, just as a hobby.  For quite some time various friends have told me to sell my sketches, but I never even considered it.  But I figured that artists also eat, right?  So decided to sell my art, a couple of weeks ago I went to my first artist event, La Campechada, held at Old San Juan.  The first day I didn’t sell a thing.  True, I was focused on painting and not selling, but by-passers didn’t even stop.  The second day I sold a few, but I didn’t even break-even.

I then opened an online store at Etsy (link), and have got lots of visitors, and a few faves.  I don’t actually like to sell reproductions, so I have been selling my original sketches.  I thought that if I managed to keep the price low that I would sell them quickly.  Wrong!  No sales… even when I’m selling my original pieces at what other artists are pricing their reproductions.  I figured that it’s too early to tell, but I just read an article that opened my eyes.  It says that if the price is too low, buyers could think that there is something wrong with my pieces that I’m not saying.  It also says that a low price is the equivalent of cheap, which could work against me, opposed to what the logic would tell us.  I read that if you are getting the views but not the sales that the pieces may be priced too low.  So, it’s apparent that the price ain’t right!

Well, I’m a man of my word, so I’m not gonna increase the price tags of the items I’ve already put online.  But I’ll definitely increase them for the ones else I put on the store from now on.  I still want to make it affordable, but if pricing it low means I don’t appreciate the pieces myself, it’s not gonna happen.  Let’s see how it goes.

Also I’ll be doing pieces larger than 9″x6″.  I just got in the store my latest “cavinela”, the term I made up for my paintings with coffee (café) and wine (vino) in a watercolor (acuarela) fashion.  Here it is:

"Boulevard des Lices", Coffee and Red Wine on 12"x 9" watercolor paper.


Doodling with Coffee, Wine and Watercolors at La Campechada

We spent this past weekend participating in the event called “La Campechada”, a multi-disciplinary union of artists, musicians, performers, urban artists and actors remembering José Campeche y Jordán, considered one of Americas most important artists of the 18th century. It was celebrated in Old San Juan, where Campeche spent his life. It was a very well planned event, so kudos to the creators from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

Our sketching group “Garabateando.com” spent two wonderful days doodling, painting, sketching and enjoying the company of lots of artists. Although most artists were very friendly, I kind of got the feeling that we were looked down upon, probably mainly because our small format. Almost everyone else had several large format pieces for display or sale and most had even several easels. It is also strange that I didn’t see any other artists using watercolors. Our setup was also very low key, as we sketched sitting on the curb instead of standing up. My wife designed and fabricated some fabulous portable sketching tables I’ll show in a future post.

I did several watercolors, but I really enjoyed sketching with coffee and wine. It was my second time using coffee, but I was just trying out doing some wine washes. I liked the effect, so I will be exploring it furthermore.

I hope the event becomes a yearly celebration, as we had a lot of fun and even sold a few of our doodles. We made some friends and several were interested in joining our group. Although those were two very long days, it was worth it… It was a wonderful experience that we’ll remember for a very long time.

Here are some of my sketches for the weekend:

Cavinela, (9″x 6″). Pencil, coffee and wine.

Fish eye view of San Sebastián Street, Caferela (9"x 6"). Pencil and Coffee.

Caferela en la Campechada, (9"x6"), Pencil and Coffee.

San Sebastián Street ATC (3.5"x 2.5"). Pencil and watercolors.


They need a chance

Today it was my first day of a new lifestyle. When I moved back to the Metro area, my main interest was to be able to leave the car at home and use the train, ferry and buses as much as possible. Well, my partial layoff from work has finally forced me to leave the car and use the available means. I’ll have to walk a lot but that does me good, so, I’m embracing the change.

I decided to use the opportunity to practice sketching people. Usually when I’m doing quick sketches I like to pass as unnoticed as possible. But today a young lady noticed I what I was doing and started talking to me. She said she was a “street artist”.

Well, I thought that is also what I am… But no, she was a graffiti artist. As an architect I tend to despite graffiti, although I’ve met a few guys that can do some amazing stuff with a few spray cans. And to my surprise, she came out to be one of those few. She showed me a picture of one of her works and I was amazed. Then she stood up, wished me luck and left.

The chance of me seeing her work again is pretty slim. The odds heavily un-favor her becoming a known artist or even me meeting her again at the train. But she made me realize there is a lot of hidden talent in our youngsters, and will inspire me to work harder so that they can have a chance to show what they got.

These are the sketches I was doing when she noticed:

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Sketching at Lunchtime

This week I’ve re-taken sketching at lunchtime, practicing with graphite some non-architectural subjects. These sketches were done in about 5 minutes each, except the last one, that took me twenty minutes.

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